SkyscraperCity Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

Oh ma Lordee, lookee here
1,746 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Where and what is it? Clues follow...

Inset: The main bar. I used to tell friends, 'Now don't start using words like 'time warp when you come in here, because they're not widely appreciated.'

The bar, almost the only room in the place with less than 15ft ceilings, was in fact one of several rooms restored by enthusiastic young local artists.

The crumbling cement parapets came off some months ago, in the second stages of Heritage Victoria grants designed to save it.

Seems uncertain whether the restoration will ever be completed now.

If they are, it is unlikely it will as a building open to the public. But no-one ever took any notice of the sign below.

Inset: better days - and in fact not so long ago. Look closely, and you can see the parapet at the top was still in place.

The building was constructed c1890 by a sea captain, and above this magnificently detailed hexagonal masonry corner there was once - not in my time - a wooden mansard tower from which the original owner could still see Port Phillip Bay.

There was also an elaborate lacework fringe to these verandah (see last pic of preserved house by the same architect). After the wooden tower on top was taken down, they were the next thing to go.

The real members were old, and some a bit cranky - but realizing that the outlook was bleak, they threw doors open to associate members and guests, and the place quickly became became popular with actors, musicians, and assorted media types like myself. The local Federal Labor MP, Michael Danby, had staff functions here.,

Then the advertising industry got onto it. The place sort of became fashionable with the 'in'crowd from all over Melbourne for a while, from Fitzroy and Brunswick, and it became the place for significant birthday parties and celebrations.

There was a jazz trio a couple of nights a week; Philosophy nights, and trivia nights, and a few quiet old single local residents who just came in for somewhere welcoming to go.

The local residents group held their annual meetings and many functions here - and joined with the club for a Christmas party for local kids, every one of whom got a gift.

A Buddha out back

This view (below) was unusual because there was a big tree here with a 'weather stone' suspended from it. If the stone moved there was wind. But the drought killed the tree, and it was one of the last things to go.

I guess the 25-pounder in the front garden - on an otherwise totally residential street -is a final clue.

The old mansion at 23 Loch Street St Kilda West had been bequeathed to the West St Kilda sub-branch of the RSL in 1949, and for decades was a fairly traditional RSL club.
Marches on Anzac day down the quiet street, but the trustees and committee eventually realized it would have to open up - and relax some attitudes too - to survive.

But West St Kilda was becoming very gentrified. Some locals liked it; others just liked to know it was there.
But by now the building itself was worth millions, and although it was protected by the terms of the bequest, it was always rumored that the RSL headquarters, Anzac House, had a covetous eye on it.

The billiard room (below) - through a grubby window.

On a residential street, there was always going to be a few complaints about noise at closing time, bottles in the street, and a few 'dead ones' left standing on ther incongruous cream brick fence outside.

They'd tried to control it - the noise I mean - but the effort was always a little at odds with the need for concerted associate membership drives. Mercifully your correspondent was not around during the final power struggles, when one resident complaint too many got to the ears of Anzac House - and it was discovered that the club had operated for years, maybe decades, without a liquor licence.

It depends on which version you hear. There might have been a restricted 4pm-10 pm licence once, but ... you get the picture. The flag no longer flies...

Nor, any longer, were there 15 full 'service' members of the club, which the RSL Constutution requires. It had been that way for years too, and the trustees had all died.

They'd had it.

The club's affairs are now in the hands of Anzac House, and its affairs in the process of being wound up. The building is certain to be sold - but it is architecturally significant and protected by a heritage overlay.

It will survive, in private hands likely - but a little local institution has died.

This fine house around the corner was by the same architect ( I'll edit the name in, don't have it to hand just now). Beautifully preserved, it shows the romanesque features, details and style.


Oh ma Lordee, lookee here
1,746 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Sorry men.^^ Maybe the heading was a bit too clever by half.

What can I do to spice it up a bit for you bloodsuckers ?

Well, here's a guy who used to drop in for a drink at the West St Kilda RSL sometimes ...

Former St Kilda Detective Sergeant Denis Tanner, finally found by State Coroner Graeme Johnstone in 1995 to have shot dead his sister-in-law Jennifer Tanner (left) at Bonnie Doon in 1984; and to have killed St Kilda transvestite prostitute Adele Bailey (right), found down a mine shaft in the same area in 1995.

The Jennifer Tanner murder was a celebrated case, subject of a good book, maybe there were two written. The story was that Jennifer Tanner, mother of a young baby sleeping nearby when she died, was thought to be about to leave Tanner's rather inept brother, and this placed a threat over the security of the old family home.

Tanner was eventually forced out of the police force - but never charged. The thing that irritated me was, that on the one occasion I saw him come into the club for a drink, just several years ago, all the bar flies there flocked around him and treated him like he was some kind of celebrity.

In fact, I was the only person there who stood back and refused to join them. Ah well...that's the best I can do for now.

The bar in which Denis Tanner drank and no-one died...

Edit: Oh the barman who was serving at the time, occasional actor Cal Cluff, was the guy who played the police officer interviewing Eric Bana in the film 'Chopper.' Hope this helps too. Bronte.

539 Posts
Sounds a bit like Roger Rogerson here in Sydney. Except he WAS charged and jailed, and people still treated him like a celebrity. I'm glad you didn't fawn over Tanner - it's sick how people treat these crims like stars.

Very interesting thread BTW - and great pics! Will have to check out the old mansion next time I'm in Melb.

You have sated some of this bloodsucker's thirst. :D

4,505 Posts
When did the St. Kilda West RSL shut down??

I was only there for a friends 21st birthday only just over a year ago..

It didn't seem like a typical RSL-- very grungy and almost like some Dogs-In-Space era house party ableit in a Bayside Victorian mansion..
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.